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  1. Vote early if you can!

    October 25, 2016 by admin

    Early voting has begun across North Carolina. We have the opportunity to vote early through November 5th. Click here to locate early voting sites in your county.

  2. Josh Stein fot North Carolina Attorney General: Protecting Seniors and Consumers

    October 25, 2016 by tkociemba



    Almost all businesses are run by hard-working, conscientious people who play by the rules. However a few unprincipled companies are all-too-ready to break the rules and engage in deception or fraud. In doing so, these bad actors hurt the consumers they rip off, as well as their business competitors that do things the right way.

    It is the duty of the Attorney General to protect both citizens and businesses from unscrupulous corporations that are breaking the law. As Attorney General, Josh Stein will vigorously enforce the law to ensure transparency and fair competition


    Between 2001 and 2008, that is precisely what he did as North Carolina’s Senior Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection:

    • Along with his colleagues, Josh brought and successfully resolved major cases against predatory lenders;
    • Helped run payday lenders charging exorbitant interest rates out of North Carolina;
    • Took on big utilities to keep electricity and water rates low;
    • Shut down telemarketing scammers that targeted seniors;
    • Drafted and helped enact legislation to combat identity theft and abusive telemarketing;
    • And worked to improve safety features on social media platforms to protect kids from sexual predators.

    In private practice, Josh is working to protect homeowners by representing the Monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement – the $25 billion settlement among 49 states, the federal government, and the country’s largest mortgage servicers. The Monitor oversees the big banks to ensure that they are living up to the terms of the settlement by providing the required financial relief to consumers and by treating their customers fairly when servicing their mortgages.



    Tom Kociemba

  3. You Don’t Want to Know Where This Pig Poop Is Washing Up

    October 25, 2016 by tkociemba



    The floods from Hurricane Matthew are finally receding, but the battle over manure leaked from hog farms is just getting started.


    “You gonna believe me, or your lyin’ eyes?” Versions of that joke have been cracked by comedians from Chico Marx to Richard Pryor; and it has gained a new relevance in North Carolina’s hurricane-ravagedhog-dense eastern counties.

    Late last week, while rivers were still flooding from Hurricane Matthew’s deluge, a watchdog group called the Waterkeeper Alliance published aerial photos of hog farms depicting a grim scene—massive cesspools, known by the industry as lagoons, leaking into floodwater or just completely subsumed. See my piece, and several of the photos, here.

    But according to the North Carolina Pork Council (NPPC), pollution has been minimal. “There have been no reported hog lagoon breaches,” the industry group claims in an October 14 release. “There are 11 hog farms where floodwaters have inundated lagoons, but the majority of the wastewater will remain in the lagoons as flood waters recede.” The group estimates “fewer than 3,000 swine deaths” from the floods.


    The NC Department of Environmental Quality gave me a similar report Monday afternoon. “We did an aerial tour over the weekend, and were heartened by what we saw in terms of not having the kind of catastrophic damage we had in 1999 from Hurricane Floyd,” spokeswoman Stephanie Hawco said. That time, leakage from farms contributed to a 350-square-mile dead zone in coastal estuaries. (It should be noted that the NC DEQ is currently under investigation by the US Environmental Protection Agency for not protecting the civil rights of the largely African American communities who live within smelling distance if North Carolina’s factory-scale hog farms.)

    However, at least two Waterkeeper images depict what look an awful lot like breaches. Here’s one taken October 12:


    But the main battle here is over lagoons that have been subsumed by floods. According to the industry and the state, Waterkeeper Alliance’s images of inundated lagoons don’t mean much in terms of toxic manure leakages. The NPPC backs up its claim by distinguishing between breaches and inundation. In breaches, the group explains, “lagoon walls give way and can no longer hold back the wastewater—the contents of the lagoon are typically washed away and emptied into the surrounding fields.”




    Tom Kociemba



  4. The anti-Trump

    October 25, 2016 by tkociemba


    Mark Kelly, astronaut and anti-gun activist, aims for civility.


    Mark Kelly is not averse to risk – his go-to Gulf War maneuver for dodging Iraqi SAMs was to flip, cockpit-down, in his A-6 Intruder and let the missile zip on past.

    Yet even this former Space Shuttle pilot feels an icy waft of danger when he approaches the glowering gun rights advocates who show up to protest his firearms control speeches.


    After all, his wife, former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, was shot through her head five-plus years ago for chatting up her constituents outside a Tucson Safeway, and the couple has been the subject of numerous death threats over the years for their activism.

    But Kelly, a former astronaut and military pilot, is also a Jersey guy, and he believes deeply in the idea of talking it out with people who want him to shut the hell up, or worse.




    Tom Kociemba



  5. President Obama endorses Roy Cooper, Deborah Ross for North Carolina races

    October 25, 2016 by tkociemba


    President Barack Obama is taking an unprecedented step into down-ballot races in the final two weeks before the 2016 election.

    The outgoing Democratic president is set to endorse 150 state legislative candidates — part of an effort to flip Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country ahead of the 2020 redistricting battle.

    The endorsements will come in the form of TV and radio ads, mailers, recorded calls and statements.

    Obama’s plans were first reported by Politico and confirmed to CNN by Democratic officials.

    His down-ballot involvement comes as both the president and first lady Michelle Obama have taken on high-profile roles as surrogates for Hillary Clinton.

    Obama’s late endorsements could help Democrats seize on what they hope will be a wave fueled by opposition to Donald Trump that could undo some of the losses in Congress and at the state legislative level that have occurred under Obama.

    Already, Obama has cut TV ads for five Senate Democratic candidates: Patrick Murphy of Florida, Kamala Harris of California, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Deborah Ross of North Carolina and Katie McGinty of Pennsylvania.


    Tom Kociemba

  6. Donald Trump and women’s bodies

    October 25, 2016 by tkociemba

    “[The tapes are] about a demeaning and a dismissing of our full God-created, God-given humanity and a passive acceptance of our female bodies as public property.”

    (The following is taken from a sermon recently preached by Presbyterian pastor Shannon J. Kershner, Chicago, IL.)

    After the airing of the Access Hollywood tape, in which Donald Trump boasted of sexually molesting women, phone calls to the country’s biggest sexual assault hotline increased 33 percent in just one weekend (NPR’s Morning Edition, 14 October 2016). The hotline officials had to bring in additional staff and ask their regular staff to stay for longer hours, as people phoned in distress over memories unearthed and experiences of sexual assault finally being expressed, after years of shame, embarrassment, and not being believed.

    In addition, the Friday before the second presidential debate took place, writer Kelly Oxford wrote on Twitter about her first experience of sexual assault and asked other women to share their stories in response. Within one evening, she had received one million responses.

    “I know from personal experience,” Rev. Kershner said, “that we are not making this up. It is not about locker-room banter or letting boys be boys. It is about a demeaning and a dismissing of our full God-created, God-given humanity and a passive acceptance of our female bodies as public property. Why else would we have so many purple ribbons outside during this Awareness of Domestic Violence month?”

    submitted by Jean Franklin


  7. From Richard Nixon to Donald Trump: How right-wing myths about Tricky Dick fueled today’s nightmare

    October 25, 2016 by tkociemba


    Right-wing pundits love to praise Richard Nixon as a noble statesman — but he was more like a proto-Trump.

    At the top of Joy Reid’s MSNBC show on Oct. 16, anti-Trump pundit David Frum trotted out a couple of false comparisons based on the ridiculous myth that Richard Nixon was some sort of high-minded political figure who cared about bringing people together. In reality, Nixon was the most profoundly divisive political figure of the post-World War II era, whose initial relative political harmony and consensus politics he did much to help destroy. Although Watergate effectively derailed his own specific plans, Nixon’s infamous “Southern strategy” planted the seeds that effectively destroyed the party of Eisenhower.


    Folks like Frum may truly despise Donald Trump, but whenever they cite Nixon approvingly, they are nonetheless praising the foundations of Trumpism — as Trump himself clearly recognizes, with his repeated invocations of Nixonian tropes — “law and order,” “silent majority,” secret plans, enemy lists, rants against the media, and so forth. For all their weeping, they will never be able to rebuild the GOP of old, the party that more or less led from Abraham Lincoln to Ike, so long as they remain in such deep denial about the history of its destruction. That morning, Frum gave a clinic on precisely what not to do.

    First, Frum revived the myth of Nixon’s noble refusal to contest the 1960 election, as a way of denigrating Al Gore’s conduct in 2000.

    First, I would like to stipulate here that Richard Nixon had much better grounds for complaint in 1960 than Al Gore did in the year 2000, because Gore lost in the courts, but there wasn’t any suggestion of voter fraud or poll fraud, which there was in 1960.




    Tom Kociemba

  8. Gerrymandering call-out freaks out GOP

    October 25, 2016 by tkociemba


    This week the NCGOP went into a tailspin defending Supreme Court candidate Bob Edmunds’ record of approving racially motivated gerrymandering. A TV ad exposed the judge’s record supporting a North Carolina District designed to disenfranchise black voters (a federal court’s ruling, not ours!). The GOP responded by calling the ad “race baiting.”

    • A panel of three federal judges ruled unanimously that the maps approved by Bob Edmunds illegally segregated voters based on race in 28 state legislative districts.
    • One particular gerrymandered district was called “bizarre and sprawling” by the court.
    • In a particularly bizarre response, state GOP leader Dallas Woodhouse said that the TV ad “calls a state Supreme Court justice racist and Satan (through images).”

    Bottom Line: The facts are clear: the districts Edmunds approved were racially gerrymandered to keep voters of color from having any power. It’s spelled out in a unanimous ruling from three federal judges, including one appointed by President Bush.. North Carolina’s voters have suffered in recent years from numerous attacks on their right to cast a ballot. It’s important (and not satanic!) to pull back the curtain and reveal where these damaging laws are forged.

    Progress NC Action


    Tom Kociemba

  9. Log Cabin Republicans Refuse to Endorse Trump Because He Is “Surrounded” by Anti–LGBT Advisers

    October 25, 2016 by tkociemba


    The country’s best known LGBT group that is affiliated with the Republican Party will not be endorsing Donald Trump for president. But the group made clear it is not withholding its endorsement because of Trump himself, but rather because he “surrounded himself with senior advisors with a record of opposing LGBT equality, and committed himself to supporting legislation such as the so-called ‘First Amendment Defense Act’ that Log Cabin Republicans opposes.” It marks the first time the group has not endorsed the Republican candidate for president since 2004, when then–President George W. Bush was running and campaigned in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality.

    The group spends a lot of time in its nonendorsement to praise Trump’s views. “Trump is perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party,” the Log Cabin Republicans say in their statement. “His unprecedented overtures to the ‘LGBTQ community’—a first for any major-party candidate in our nation’s history—are worthy of praise, and should serve as a clarion call to the GOP that the days of needing to toe an anti-LGBT line are now a thing of the past.”

    Despite these positive words, “rhetoric alone regarding LGBT issues does not equate to doctrine,” the group said. In addition, the group’s board decided it couldn’t trust Trump due to the “many vacillations” on numerous issues, Gregory T. Angelo, the organization’s president, tells Politico. “Could Donald Trump be the most pro–LGBT president that this country has ever had? He might well be,” Angelo said. But there were “enough reservations such that the board did not feel comfortable putting the full face of our 40-year-old brand behind the Republican Party’s nominee for president.”







    Tom Kociemba

  10. Clinton promotes early voting in North Carolina swing. Supports down ballot candidates

    October 24, 2016 by tkociemba



    Hillary Clinton completed a swing through North Carolina Sunday, speaking at early voting rallies in Raleigh and Charlotte.

    Mothers of the Movement, a group of mothers who have lost their sons to police violence, joined the former secretary of State in both cities as she encouraged supporters to cast their ballots before the Nov. 8 election.

    Clinton mentioned the recent debates with Donald Trump and ticked through her usual policy talking points on criminal justice reform, job creation and increasing minimum rage.

    At the second rally of the day, police arrested a man wearing a Trump shirt after he punched another rally-goer, according to a CNN reporter.


    As she did on Saturday in Pennsylvania, Clinton promoted fellow Democrats in down ballot races. Clinton expressed her support Sunday for Senate candidate Debra Ross, attorney general candidate Josh Stein, and state senate candidate Jeff Jackson.

    Clinton currently leads Trump by 2.8 points in the RealClearPolitics North Carolina poll average.


    Tom KOciemba